The Irish were at home on league duty this weekend against Carluke Victoria who were something of an unknown quantity given the fact the two sides had yet to face each other previously. A string of poor performances from GIFC meant they approached the game low in confidence. The cloud hanging over the team was further darkened by injuries to Kev Mcenaney, Stiles Owens, Nathaniel Kelly, Daniel Singh, David Griffin and Kieran Nicol in the lead up to this fixture.
With keeper David Griffin unable to play the Irish drafted in Kevin Gallagher to take over in goal. This proving to be one of the many highlights of Sunday’s game.
The match started with Carluke pinning GIFC back in the early stages. Any progress the Black and Green made was short lived as possession was conceded far too cheaply in attacking areas.
Midway through the first half the Irish were denied a stonewall penalty when Mark Paterson’s cross was handled by a Carluke defender in full view of the referee. This decision set the tone for what was to be one of the worst refereeing performances you could hope to find.
A succession of corners and free kicks were fired into the GIFC box only for Kevin Gallagher to command his area very well. The penalty claim aside, GIFC offered very little going forward.
After the restart the game continued in the same manner with Gallagher having to tip over a drive from a Victoria midfielder which looked goal bound all the way. This seemed to spur GIFC on with Paterson and Jack starting to liven up in midfield.
Kevin Maguire was introduced on 60 minutes and started causing the Carluke defence no end of problems.
Carluke were then denied a certain penalty when Reeko McCabe hauled down the number 10 for Victoria only for the referee to deny the claim. A truly laughable decision from the official. There was more comedy to come.
GIFC then started pushing forward and from a Paterson cutback Connor Jack was taken out inside the box just as he was about to pull the trigger. A clear penalty in no uncertain terms. Not in the referees eyes as he waved play on to the bemusement of anyone watching the game.
Captain Jay Armstrong then hit from distance after seeing the Carluke keeper off his line only for the stopper to recover well and tip round the post.
Reeko McCabe almost scored for the Irish when he seen his header from a Mulgrew corner desperately cleared off the line by a Carluke defender.
In the final minute Connor Jack headed home only for the referee to judge him offside.
The draw more than likely a fair result in what was a very hard fought game. Both sides being physical but fair.
Positives for the Irish were the sense of fight and the showing of a unity that’s been missing recently.
Man of the Match for GIFC debutant Kevin Gallagher.
McCabe, Mulheron, Gordon and Jack also standing out for the Irish.